Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Review: Jasinda Wilder's "Wounded."

Review: Jasinda Wilder's "Wounded."

Amazon UK:


War has taken everything from me. My family. My home. My innocence. In a country blasted by war and wracked by economic hardship, a young orphan girl like me has very few options when it comes to survival. Thus, I do what I must to live, to eat, and I try very hard to not consider the cost to my soul. My heart is empty, and my existence brutal. 

The one impossibility in my life is love.

And then I meet HIM.

War is hell. It takes a chunk out of a man's very soul to do the kinds of things war demands of you. You live with fear, you live with guilt, and you live with nightmares. If you haven't been through it, there's no understanding it. War leaves no room for love, no room for tenderness or softness. You gotta be hard, closed off, and ready to fight every moment of every day. Lose focus for a split second, and you're dead.

Now the only thing that can save me is HER.


I bought this book as a one click when it was on offer recently and although the synopsis intrigued me I didn't really know what to expect. Nothing could have prepared me for what I got though. From the first page my heart slowly broke and the pain I felt remained for the most part of this book. The story depicted the true horror of war, how families are ripped apart, the innocent killed and how people are pushed to their very limits in order to survive. This wasn't by any means a pretty love story. It was tragic, harrowing, gritty and damn right ugly but out of it was born hope. Hope for a better life. Hope for a future filled with beauty and love and hope for freedom. Sounds deep right? This book was but in an amazing way.  

"Wounded" was set (in the most part) during the second Gulf war and tells the story of Rania and Hunter. Rania was an Iraqi civilian with nothing and I mean nothing. She had watched her family die one by one, each of them casualties of the horrific war. With no home, no food and only the clothes on her back she was forced to do the unimaginable in order to survive. But that's what her life had become. Rania no longer lived, she survived by any which way she could:

I am only a prostitute, without religion, without any god but money. It is to survive, 
I tell myself. It is not because I like what I do. I hate it. I mask my utter disgust 
every time I draw an officer or soldier into my work nest. 

Their paths crossed during a fierce gun battle and when Hunter was injured and left to die, it was Rania that saved him, nursed his wounds, fed him and hid him from the enemy putting her own life on the line. Part of me really wanted to see their relationship develop into more but there was so much fear for them. All I kept thinking was... "This isn't going to end well. It can't end well. She's an Iraqi, he's an American Soldier. If they even find that she's hidden him, death will come knocking and it won't be pretty." Culture, religion, war, sexism, racism, family all against them, how the hell would their love survive? That fear remained in the back of my mind as I worked my way through "Wounded."

The characters Jasinda created just blew me away. In Rania, I found a strong woman who closed herself off from emotion and feeling in order to survive. From the age of fourteen, prostitution is all she had known. Her life from that moment had involved no happiness, no affection, no love. So when she started having these feelings for Hunter, it confused her and she tried desperately to fight them. And Hunter... despite being injured, he had this whole alpha, protective thing going on. He knew what Rania did but as their friendship developed, I could see him struggle with it more and more. He could hear her in the mosque, see her transformation from Rania and Sabah, see her emotions and facial expressions change and it was slowly killing him: 

My belly tightens, my heart rebels, my mind screams. No. No. I want to grab her and shove her 
back into the house. Go outside and beat the fuck out of the john waiting for her. She's mine. 

Seeing their relationship develop was just beautiful. They were surrounded by war yet they found comfort in one another. Each innocent touch, their first kiss, their inner thoughts just had my heart swelling but still the fear remained in the back of my mind. 

Hunter touches my cheek, kisses my chin. "I will always love you. You saved me, Rania."
I shake my head. "No, you have saved me,"
"We have saved each other then," he says.

Jasinda Wilder wrote in such an amazing, beautiful, descriptive way that as I read Hunter and Rania's story, I could visualise it all in my mind. The mosque, her home, death, the streets, the guns,  it was all there playing out like a movie and that for me just made this story all the more powerful. In fact I connected so much with this book that even when I had to put my kindle away because of work, I spent most of my day in a daze thinking about the characters, their situation, their future, playing out various scenarios that could possibly give them the HEA they truly deserve. Yup when that happens, you definitely know you're onto a winner in the book world!!!

This book got 5 Hearts from me. I couldn't begin to give it anything less. I'm still thinking about it now and yes, thinking about everything they went through still just breaks my heart. War is a bitch and then some and you will definitely need to put on your big girl panties for this one. 

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